DOCETAXEL is a chemotherapy drug. It targets fast dividing cells, like cancer cells, and causes these cells to die. This medicine is used to treat many types of cancers like breast cancer, certain stomach cancers, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer. Compare microtubule inhibitors.

What is Docefrez?

Commonly Used Brand Name(s)Docefrez, Taxotere

Therapeutic ClassificationsAntineoplastic Agent

Pharmacologic ClassificationsMitotic Inhibitor



Blackbox WarningTOP

Intravenous route (Solution)

Treatment-related mortality increases with abnormal liver function, at higher doses, and in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma and a history of prior treatment with platinum-based therapy receiving docetaxel at 100 mg/m (2). Docetaxel should generally not be given to patients with bilirubin greater than the ULN, or to patients with AST or ALT greater than 1.5 x ULN concomitant with alkaline phosphatase greater than 2.5 x ULN; these patients are at increased risk for developing severe or life-threatening toxicities. Monitor LFTs prior to each treatment cycle. Docetaxel therapy should not be given to patients with neutrophil counts of less than 1500 cells/mm (3); obtain frequent blood counts to monitor for neutropenia. Severe hypersensitivity reactions, including fatal anaphylaxis, have been reported in patients who received dexamethasone premedication. Use is contraindicated in patients with a severe hypersensitivity to docetaxel or polysorbate 80. Severe fluid retention may occur .


Docetaxel injection is used to treat breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancer, gastric (stomach) cancer, and prostate cancer. Docetaxel might be used together with other cancer medicines.

Docetaxel belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics (cancer medicines). It interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed by the body. Since the growth of normal cells may also be affected by docetaxel, other unwanted effects will also occur.

This medicine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in the product labeling, docetaxel injection is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

Proper UseTOP

Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many unwanted effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.

You will receive this medicine in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.

You will also be given a steroid medicine for a few days to prevent unwanted effects from docetaxel. Carefully follow the instructions about how to take the steroid. If you forget to take the steroid, tell your doctor before you receive the dose.

This medicine should come with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Before UsingTOP

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of docetaxel injection in children.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of docetaxel injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted effects and age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving docetaxel injection.


Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersDStudies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.

Breast FeedingTOP

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug InteractionsTOP

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other InteractionsTOP

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

  • Grapefruit Juice

Other Medical ProblemsTOP

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to polysorbate 80 or
  • Neutropenia (low white blood cells)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Asthenia (muscle weakness) or
  • Fluid retention (edema) or
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, fingers, or toes) or
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) or
  • Vision problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Infection—May decrease your body's ability to fight infection.
  • Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.


It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Docetaxel can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

This medicine may cause changes in blood counts due to leukemia or other problems in the blood years after use, or may increase the risk of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a type of blood cancer. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about these risk.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, fever or chills, trouble breathing or swallowing, a fast or irregular heartbeat, or any swelling of your hands, face, mouth, or throat with this medicine.

Docetaxel may cause edema or fluid retention, which means your body is keeping too much water. Check with your doctor right away if you have a rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, extreme tiredness or weakness, irregular breathing, an irregular heartbeat, or excessive swelling of the hands, wrist, ankles, or feet.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or a red skin rash on your arms or legs after receiving this medicine.

Check with your doctor right away if you have burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. These could be symptoms of a condition called peripheral neuropathy.

Tell your doctor right away if you have vision changes, such as blurred vision, difficulty reading, or eye pain with this medicine. These could be symptoms of a serious eye problem called cystoid macular edema.

This medicine contains alcohol that may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy and not alert.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

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